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Intel CEO looks beyond the PC

Paul Otellini shows off 22-nanometer silicon to the IDF crowd and talks of moving Intel's Atom technology beyond Netbooks to places like car dashboards.

Updated on September 23 at 12:30 a.m. PDT: adding information about the Atom Developer Program.

SAN FRANCISCO--In his keynote at the Intel Developer Forum on Tuesday, Intel CEO Paul Otellini focused on moving beyond the PC while introducing a new processor technology and a new development platform for the Atom processor.

"We're moving from personal computers to personal computing," Otellini said.

Intel CEO Paul Otellini shows a next, next-generation wafer containing 22-nanometer chips
Intel CEO Paul Otellini shows a next, next-generation wafer containing 22-nanometer chips Stephen Shankland, CNET News

He called this a transition to a continuum. "The same experience on any device. How we build this continuum out. That's the theme," he said. "Moore's Law, platform architecture, and software--the combination of these three will allow us to build the continuum."

Otellini also had a surprise. He introduced the company's next, next-generation technology, based on a 22-nanometer process. Intel currently makes chips based on 45-nanometer technology and will move to 32-nanometer by the fourth quarter of this year. After that comes 22-nanometer chips.

Generally, the smaller the chip's geometry, the faster and more power efficient the chip is.

"The world's first working 22-nanometer silicon technology," Otellini said. He showed a wafer containing SRAM memory chips that each contained 2.9 billion transistors. "This is on track for for second half 2011."

In the more immediate future are the 32-nanometer processors. "Thirty-two-nanometer enables us to build a billion transistors in high volume. Started production on Westmere (the 32-nanometer technology) for shipment to customers in Q4." Otellini demonstrated the upcoming 32-nanometer mobile "Arrandale" processor--which integrates graphics silicon with the main processor--in a laptop.

The Intel CEO also introduced a new Intel developer program for the Atom processor in order to boost software adoption on Netbooks and expand the development of software beyond those devices. Asus, Acer, and Dell are supporting the program, Otellini said.

The program provides a framework for developers to create and sell software applications for netbooks with support for handhelds and smart phones available in the future. "We want to fuel the growth of Intel Atom-based products designed for the mobile lifestyle," said Renee James, corporate vice president and general manager, Intel Software and Services Group, in a statement.

As another example of where Atom will be used, Otellini said that automakers Daimler and BMW will use in-vehicle Atom-based infotainment systems from Harmon International in future vehicles.

Otellini also addressed the European Commission's publication on Monday of antitrust allegations against Intel. "They consistently ignored information," Otellini said. He added that customers such as Dell will come forward to state that some of the information was "wrong." In a statement, Intel said Monday that "the Commission relied heavily on speculation found in e-mails from lower level employees that did not participate in the negotiation of the relevant agreements."

Addressing the PC market, Otellini said that he expects "significant growth in 2010." This year he sees "units flat to slightly up," he said, but next year "I think the market is poised for a resurgence."